Two Research Assistant Positions

Research Assistant
Language Development

The Language Development Department is offering two full-time Research Assistant positions from May 1st, 2024.

Job description

We are seeking two research assistants to help with the Department’s research on how children learn to use and understand language. The assistants will help to coordinate (and will assist with) lab-based studies with children and adults, and with coding language and communicative behaviour in caregiver-child interaction. They will also help  increasing the visibility of the Baby and Child Research Center amongst parents and early years practitioners (teachers, health visitors, etc.) in the local and regional community. The position would suit graduates with an interest in a career in research on language or child development, teaching, child-focussed clinical work, and/or science communication or related fields.


  • Creating and pre-testing stimulus materials
  • Scheduling participants and running lab-based studies with infants, children and/or adults
  • Coding and transcribing observational and experimental data
  • Data processing and data analyses
  • Assisting with everyday lab business (e.g. participant recruitment)
  • Helping to develop and implement a (social) media and visibility strategy




  • Good fluency in spoken and written Dutch and English
  • A relevant Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree (e.g. Psychology, Linguistics, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, or in a branch of communication, such as Marketing, Communication, Public Relations and/or Media)
  • The ability to maintain good professional relationships with children and families
  • Excellent attention to detail and organisational skills
  • Flexible availability (e.g. willingness to work some Saturdays)



  • Good fluency in spoken (and written) German
  • Experience with leading and/or running experimental or observational studies with adults and/or children, preferably on topics related to language
  • Experience with the use of PRAAT and/or ELAN (however, training will be provided for all tasks)
  • Experience of designing and delivering science communication to the general public
  • Ability to drive a car and a full clean driving license, to travel within the region for testing


What we offer you

  • Positions available from 1st May 2024, though start date is negotiable
  • Term of appointment of 6 months initially, with the possibility of extension
  • Full-time position (39 hours per week), part-time/job share applications also welcome
  • The salary is in accordance with the German TVöD (Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst) and is classified in salary group E09b. Depending on the experience of the applicant, the salary is between EUR 3,619.09 and EUR 4,029.91 gross per month (based on a full-time employment), plus a holiday bonus of 8% of the gross salary. This equates to EUR 46,903.41 – EUR 52,227.63 per year, including holiday bonus.


Application procedure

The deadline for applications is midnight (CEST) on Friday March 8th, 2024. Please submit your application directly via this link on our recruitment portal.


Applications should include:

  1. A cover letter outlining your motivation to apply and detailing how you fit the requirements above

  2. A current CV that includes details of education, relevant work and/or voluntary experience and language(s) proficiency (to facilitate a bias-free hiring process, please do not include a photo or details of gender, age of marital status)

  3. A summary of courses and grades achieved from relevant Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degrees

  4. The names and contact details of two referees (referees will not be contacted unless you are invited to interview)

Interviews will be held on Monday March 18th and Tuesday March 19th, 2024, at the MPI in Nijmegen. Please let us know in your cover letter if you are available on these dates.

For further information or questions about these positions, please contact the secretary of the Language Development Department, Ilse van den Dobbelsteen (Ilse.vandenDobbelsteen [at] (Ilse[dot]vandenDobbelsteen[at]mpi[dot]nl)).


The employer

About our institute

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is a world-leading research institute devoted to interdisciplinary studies of the science of language and communication, including departments on genetics, psychology, development, neurobiology and multimodality of these fundamental human abilities.
We investigate how children and adults acquire their language(s), how speaking and listening happen in real time, how the brain processes language, how the human genome contributes to building a language-ready brain, how multiple modalities (as in speech, gesture and sign) shape language and its use in diverse languages and how language is related to cognition and culture, and shaped by evolution.
We are part of the Max Planck Society, an independent non-governmental association of German-funded research institutes dedicated to fundamental research in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunities employer. We recognise the positive value of diversity and inclusion, promote equity and challenge discrimination. We aim to provide a working environment with room for differences, where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Therefore, we welcome applications from all suitably qualified candidates.

Our institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University and has close collaborative links with the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University. We also work closely with other child development researchers as part of the Baby & Child Research Center.
Staff and students at the MPI have access to state-of-the art research and training facilities.

About the Language Development Department

The research of the Language Development Department focuses on how children learn to communicate with language, how the developing brain supports this process, and how it is affected by cross-linguistic, cultural and individual variation. Research broadly falls into three themes, though many projects address multiple themes:

  • Language in the brain: studies focus on the nature and function of the brain’s learning and processing mechanisms.
  • Languages across the world: studies focus on the role of the multimodal environment and its effects on acquisition across languages and cultures.
  • Language over development: studies focus on mapping and explaining the trajectory of language development, acknowledging that developmental systems are characterised by constant and dynamic change.

In addition, the department’s Innovations team produces methodological primers, web- and app-based assessment tools, and pipelines for the semi-automatic analysis of day-long recordings.



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